Fullerton Junior All American Bears

The Fullerton Junior All American Bears are members of the Orange County Junior All American Football Conference (OCJAAF). Comprised of twenty-nine (29) chapter (city) members throughout the Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, OCJAAF is the largest youth football and cheerleading organization in the nation. The Fullerton Junior All American Bears are honored to contribute to OCJAAF's diversity, which makes the Orange County Junior All American Football Conference number one in competition. The Fullerton Junior All American Bears are proud to sponsor OCJAAF's core values of "family" and of "community" - the standards that keep OCJAAF and the Fullerton Junior All American Bears a leading youth football and cheerleading organization. Families come in many combinations and we celebrate the word of "family" as meaning: team, the Fullerton Junior All American Bears, community and the OCJAAF Conference. There is nothing stronger than the spirit in the word of family and you will see it and feel it within the Fullerton Junior All American Bears organization and our OCJAAF Conference.

The objective of the Fullerton Junior All American Bears program is to inspire youth, regardless of race, color, creed, or national origin; to practice the ideals of health, citizenship and character; to bring our youth closer together through the means of a common interest in sportsmanship, fair play and fellowship; to impart to the game elements of safety, sanity and intelligent supervision; and to keep the welfare of the player and/or cheerleader first, foremost and entirely free of adult lust for glory.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Parents Accuse Snoop Dogg Of Pee Wee Football Sabotage

Parents say rapper lured football players to his team with gifts, pimped-out bus.

It's the biggest scandal to hit Southern California Pee Wee football since, well, ever. Some parents in Los Angeles are accusing Snoop Dogg of using his fame and a tricked-out team bus to lure players to his new football league, which is threatening to wipe out decades of youth football history in the area.
The peeved parents claim that because of Snoop's star power, the once mighty Rowland High School football program in Rowland Heights, California has dwindled, shrinking from nine squads of 5-14 year olds to just three, while its formerly sturdy cheerleading squad has atrophied from 80 girls to just nine, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

"I'm mad at Coach Snoop," 10-year-old Rowland player Xavier Bernal said. "He was so cool; he told me to play my heart out and to play everything I've got. But now I just want to ask him, why did he take all our players?"

Two years ago, when his sons were of age to join the team, Snoop volunteered to be the Rowland Raiders' "daddy coach," earning headlines around the world for his role as the squad's offensive coordinator. Last year, the star allure of the rapper's presence on the field as both offensive and defensive coordinator helped him recruit star players from all over the area to join the team, which was undefeated under the guidance of its quarterback, Snoop's older son.

But when he broke off from the Orange County Junior All-American Football Conference last month to form his own conference (see "Commissioner Snoop Has Big Plans For Youth Football League"), the Rowland team suffered, as did the Long Beach and Compton teams.

According to disgruntled parents and kids, the rapper, who is an alum of his hometown's Long Beach Poly Junior Jackrabbits, lured players to his new Snoop Youth Football League conference with gifts and the promise of riding on a team bus that is tricked out with TVs for watching game tape and a bumping stereo that pumped out his old team's theme song, "Drop It Like It's Hot."

Now, as the rapper has made noise about expanding the league beyond its first eight Southern California teams, frustrated parents and coaches — who admit that Snoop was very generous as a coach, lavishing gifts like new letterman jackets and jerseys and scooters on his players — are accusing him of sabotage and spreading misinformation. Snoop's camp has denied the allegations, saying his new league will do a better job serving the cash-strapped urban youth, many of whom couldn't afford the $175 per child league fees and might otherwise fall victim to gangs and drugs. "We should make it that easy to be involved in football and academics," Snoop said. (Representatives told the paper that they never turn away kids who can't afford the fees.)

So, Snoop started his own league, with a $100 fee for the first child from each family, half price for any others, with cleats and pads included.

Several parents and coaches said the rapper's heavy recruitment has hurt local schools, threatening their football programs, including that of the Junior Jackrabbits, who may have to fold after the upcoming season.

Undaunted, Snoop is forging ahead with his league, staging a benefit concert to raise money for it on August 25 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ice Cube. He has also signed up such corporate sponsors as cell phone provider Amp'd Mobile, and is starring in the movie "Coach Snoop." And, not that it's much consolation to them now, but his Rowland Raiders team from last year will soon have their own video game.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pop Warner's New Rule

Ahead of season, Pop Warner renews safety emphasis

By Jamie McCracken, USA TODAY

In an attempt to cut down on concussion-related injuries, Pop Warner football announced Tuesday that it was banning head-to-head hits and limiting contact in practice to 40 minutes a day. But already there is debate among coaches about whether the measures go too far or not far enough.

"I'm not as much concerned about my kid who has played for three years, but I am concerned about the kid who has never played before," said John Jackson, who is a coach in the Los Angeles suburb of Redondo Beach and was a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears from 1990 to 1996.

"I question if 40 minutes of contact drills is enough time for me to teach the kid the technique properly, because we got limited practice time anyway," said Jackson, who has a 12-year-old son in the league.

Edward Marshall, the father of three sons, is the co-founder of the Central Oklahoma Pop Warner League, and his concerns include policing the rule changes among 7,500 coaches.

"I don't know if it's enough changes right now. That's probably something I will find out when practice starts," Marshall said. "It might not be enough, because it's hard to monitor every coach to make sure that they're doing that in practice."

Pop Warner executive director Jon Butler said the new regulations could be just a start as more information becomes available. "Football, in terms of sports, is very capable of evolving and changing appropriately," Butler said. "If new research comes out, we will continue to change our rules to keep our kids as safe as we can.

"The other thing that gets very interesting is that Pop Warner gets very self-policing, because nobody wants another program to get an advantage."

The policies come after studies detailing the risks of concussions in football as well as lawsuits filed by more than 2,000 retired players against the NFL alleging the league did not protect them.

At an advisory board meeting Tuesday in Chicago, the nation's largest and oldest youth football, cheer and dance organization also announced that no full-speed head-on blocking and no tackling drills that involve players lining up more than 3 yards apart would be allowed.

"The impact of head-to-head contact causes the most severe concussions, so we felt it was imperative that Pop Warner take a proactive approach and limit contact in practices," said Julian Bailes, chairman of the Pop Warner medical advisory board. "We're trying to take away all at once the head-to-head contact in practice."

The rules also state that only two linemen in stances immediately across from each other will be permitted and coaches are allowed to have full-speed drills in which players approach each other at an angle but not straight ahead into each other.

Marshall and other coaches support the changes and long-standing rules as well as Pop Warner's attempts to make the game safer for kids.

"I love that there's a weight limit, because I have a son that's 7 years old but he's only approximately 40 pounds — maybe 45 pounds at the most — and I just don't feel comfortable putting him against a kid that's 125 pounds, even though they're the same age and in the same grade," Marshall said.

Mike Webb, executive commissioner of Los Angeles County Pop Warner, said the new rules were a good compromise and a balanced ratio. "You want to have the appropriate balance between instruction," he said, "but also make certain that safety always comes first."
"Safety always comes first"?!?!  This is the quote from an executive commissioner of Pop Warner?  Safety always comes first when Pop Warner passes a rule to allow 5 and 6 year old children to play tackle football and helmet manufacturers don't even make a helmet that fits the majority of children at age 5 and 6.  Safety always comes first.  Safety always comes when Pop Warner no longer mandates yearly helmet reconditioning so Pop Warner can give out a helmet that is 10 years old and not certified for use.  Safety always comes first.  It certainly does. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Concussions in Soccer WARNING!!

Player whose career was ended takes on concussions in soccer

March 03, 2012|By Kevin Baxter

Reporting from Glendale, Ariz. — "I look completely normal, right?" a completely normal-looking Taylor Twellman says.

It's something he asks often, and the response is always the same: nodding heads, words of affirmation, smiles.

In reality, though, Twellman is far from normal.

Three and a half years ago, the then-New England Revolution forward and former Major League Soccer most valuable player was accidentally punched in the jaw by Galaxy goalkeeper Steve Cronin while scoring on a header. Although Twellman didn't know it then — and wouldn't for months — he sustained a concussion on the play.

And despite appearances, he hasn't been normal since.

Twellman played the rest of the 2008 season, but he was forced to retire two games into the 2009 season because of health problems related to the concussion. He currently works as a soccer analyst for ESPN.

"Now I'm behind the eight ball the rest of my life dealing with this" medical problem, says Twellman. "I'd still be playing. I was 28 when I got hit. I had some time left in me."

Once among the best-conditioned players in MLS, Twellman hasn't worked out in two years to keep his heart rate down. Once among the most energetic forwards in the league, Twellman drove less than a quarter of a mile from his hotel to breakfast on this morning because he feared walking over the rock-strewn driveway.

"Any other injury doesn't take your life away. This takes your life away," Twellman says over an iced coffee at an Arizona shopping mall. "You get a knee [injury] … you still can go to the movies. You still can play video games. You still can remember things.

"This brain injury of concussions takes your life away. We've got to stop it."

How to prevent — and treat — concussions in soccer is something MLS has spent a great deal of time and money examining as it prepares to open its 17th season next weekend.

The dangers — and damage — of concussions in football and ice hockey have been acknowledged for years. But several recent studies show soccer isn't far behind in potential medical dangers, whether for pros or young amateurs. Among high school sports, only football has a higher rate of concussions than girls' soccer, according to several studies. And the trauma can come in many ways — from heading the ball; from a collision; or, as in Twellman's case, by taking a hand, knee or elbow to the head.

That has alarmed doctors, who worry that many soccer players and coaches don't fully appreciate the risks and don't understand the symptoms of what they say is becoming a public health crisis.

"The real incidence of concussion is considerably higher than what's recognized on the [soccer] field," says Dr. Robert Cantu, a neurosurgeon and co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, a Boston-based group dedicated to the study, treatment and prevention of brain trauma in sports. "Most people don't think of it as being a sport with high risk of concussion. Yet it actually is."

Indeed, some studies have found that head injuries account for as many as one-fifth of all soccer injuries. And the National Institutes of Health believes the actual number may be much higher because many concussions go unrecognized.

"There's kind of a misconception out there that a concussion means someone was knocked out. And that's not the case," says Dr. Michael Lipton, director of radiology research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at New York's Yeshiva University. "Being hit numerous times — even though each time you get hit seems like nothing — can have a cumulative impact."

That makes the seemingly harmless heading of a soccer ball a particularly dangerous activity.

Lipton presented a very limited study last fall that used an advanced MRI-based imaging technique to show that heading a soccer ball more than 1,000 times a year, in games or practice, could cause symptoms of cognitive dysfunction similar to patients who have suffered a concussion. And while some have criticized the size and makeup of Lipton's test group — 38 amateur soccer players with an average age of 31 — many medical professionals say the results are alarming and demand further study.

But the results were not surprising. Consider the case of Jeffrey Astle, who played for 10 seasons with West Bromwich Albion of the English Premier League, developing a reputation as a formidable header. Astle died of degenerative brain disease a decade ago at age 59, and the coroner ruled in an inquest that the repeated minor trauma of heading a soccer ball — damage consistent with the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) seen in U.S. football players — caused his death.

"It was Jeff's job that killed him," Astle's widow, Lorraine, said. "I know Jeff wasn't the first to die as a result of heading [soccer] balls."

Yet many top-level players continue to ignore the risks. Abby Wambach, the second-leading international scorer in U.S. history, flatly dismissed the threat of concussions.

"None of us are really focused on that kind of study," she said. "I feel OK. I love what I do. I don't think it's harmful to me or my body. There's obviously some risks that you take playing anything or doing anything, and that's what we all assume when we step on the pitch."

MLS and the U.S. Soccer Federation are taking a different approach. Both have sought the counsel of Dr. Ruben J. Echemendia, a clinical neuropsychologist who implemented the detailed concussion treatment program in the NHL. "We need to understand how these injuries are occurring in soccer and if there is anything we can do to mitigate it without fundamentally altering the nature of the game," says Echemendia, who chairs the MLS' nine-member Concussion Protocol Committee.

One easy solution, he says, would be to officiate the game more tightly. Others, such as Twellman, have suggested adding new rules, including limiting the use of elbows.

"An elbow can give you more of a concussion than heading a ball," says Connor O'Leary, a senior midfielder at El Camino High in Woodland Hills. "I'm more afraid of an elbow."

According to various studies, high school players, and those at lower grade levels, are among the soccer athletes facing the greatest risk of injuries because their bodies are not fully developed and the quality of competition and instruction varies widely.

"It's important that parents are aware that their kids can and do get concussions playing soccer. So if they have concussionlike symptoms at home, question the kid," Cantu says.

Last month Cantu's institute called for a strict limit on the number of times youth football players could be hit during a season, both in practice and competition. Little League baseball already enforces a pitch limit to reduce the stress on young arms. And USA Hockey this year raised the age a player can check an opponent from 11 to 13 while outlawing blows to the head.

Twellman wants the same concept applied to headers in soccer — both in games and practice.

"Why, at ages 6 [through] 11 — when your brain is still developing — why are we heading the ball?" asks Twellman, who says he had seven diagnosed concussions between the ages of 12 and 28. "Have you ever gone to an under-11 game? How many times do they head the ball? Rarely.

"You go to the practice [and] the dads, the coaches, put the ball in the air. What are we doing? I'm not worried about the pro game so much as I am these youth. We've got to help these kids and help these parents."

Cantu, meanwhile, wants headers banned completely for players younger than 14. Either approach, Twellman says, could protect players by forcing them to concentrate more on dribbling and handling the ball with their feet.

"All of our youth will be playing with the ball on the ground," says Twellman, who has taken to his new cause with the fervor and conviction of a preacher. He started a foundation — ThinkTaylor — as a resource for education, support and fundraising aimed at eliminating sports-related brain injuries.

Twellman said he conducted an experiment recently, visiting hospital emergency rooms in three states and complaining of classic concussion symptoms — dizziness, nausea, headaches and vomiting. None of the medical personnel treating him recognized the possibility of concussion.

Echemendia wasn't surprised. "Although there has been significant improvement in the recognition of this injury, even among medical professionals there exists a fairly significant number who are not up to date," he says.

Which is why Twellman made three presentations on concussions in January at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention in Kansas City. And he has partnered on campaigns with MLS and U.S. Soccer and regularly exchanges emails with players and the parents of young players.

"People do not get it," says Twellman. For "how many 10-year-olds is [soccer] going to become their job? The percentage is so low you can't even get into it. How many of them want to be a doctor? Want to be a fireman? But they've got headaches. They've got nausea, dizziness, vertigo and they're under 15 years old. Come on.

"I don't want anyone to be me. I'm 30 years old, and I've got to deal with this serious, serious injury for the rest of my life. If I knew what I know now in 2008, I might still be playing."

Concussion Crisis in Girl's Soccer


Concussions Mega Lawsuit

NEW YORK — Scores of lawsuits involving thousands of former players touched by concussions and brain injuries have been consolidated into one master complaint, setting up a massive and potentially costly case for the NFL.

Lawyers for the players filed the complaint Thursday in Philadelphia, accusing the NFL of hiding information that linked football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries. Among the illnesses cited were dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The plaintiffs hope to hold the NFL responsible for the care of players suffering from those health problems.

"The NFL must open its eyes to the consequences of its actions," said Kevin Turner, a former running back with the Patriots and Eagles who has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). "The NFL has the power not only to give former players the care they deserve, but also to ensure that future generations of football players do not suffer the way that many in my generation have."

Also named in the suit was helmet-maker Riddell, Inc.

The suit accuses the NFL of "mythologizing" and glorifying violence through the media, including its NFL Films division.

"The NFL, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that some members of the NFL player population were at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result," the complaint charges.

"Despite its knowledge and controlling role in governing player conduct on and off the field, the NFL turned a blind eye to the risk and failed to warn and/or impose safety regulations governing this well-recognized health and safety problem."

In response, the NFL cited the many health programs it runs for current and former players, and a series of medical benefits to former NFL players to help them after football. Those include joint replacement, neurological evaluations and spine treatment programs, assisted living partnerships, long-term care insurance, prescription benefits, life insurance programs, and a Medicare supplement program.
"The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so," the league said in a statement. "Any allegation that the NFL sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league's many actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions."

The league added that in partnership with the NFL Players Association it has spent more than a billion dollars on pensions, medical and disability benefits for retired players.
Turner, however, sees little positive coming from those programs.

"For the longest time, about the first 10 years after I retired in January 2000, I thought I had just turned into a loser overnight," he said. "I couldn't figure out what was wrong. It was a very scary proposition – until I found out there were a lot more guys just like me. I find they had been through some of the same struggles. I realized this is no longer a coincidence."

Attorneys for the players said they were not trying to tear apart the NFL, only to ensure that it lives up to its obligations to provide a safer sport. And that it offers proper care for those who have retired from the game.

Mary Ann Easterling echoed those thoughts.

She will remain a plaintiff despite the April suicide of her husband, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, who had been a named plaintiff in a suit filed last year. Easterling, 62, suffered from undiagnosed dementia for many years that left him angry and volatile, his widow said. He acted out of character, behaving oddly at family parties and making risky business decisions that eventually cost them their home. They were married 36 years and had one daughter. She believes the NFL has no idea what families go through.

"I wish I could sit down with (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) and share with him the pain. It's not just the spouses, it's the kids, too," Easterling, 59, told The Associated Press from her home in Richmond, Va. "Kids don't understand why Dad is angry all the time.

"I think the thing that was so discouraging was just the denial by the NFL."

The list of notable former players connected to concussion lawsuits is extensive and includes the family of Dave Duerson, who shot himself last year.

According to an AP review of 81 lawsuits filed through May 25, the plaintiffs include 2,138 former players. The total number of plaintiffs in those cases is 3,356, which includes players, spouses and other relatives or representatives.

Some of the plaintiffs are named in more than one complaint, but the AP count did not include duplicated names in its total. The master suit contains a provision to allow other players to join it as plaintiffs and attorneys expect that to happen.

"I just want the NFL to stand up and be accountable for its actions," Turner said. "That is how we can prevent more people from suffering and keeping this game that has plenty of benefits. But we can make it safer and I am hoping that's what we do."
Associated Press Writer Maryclaire Dale contributed to this story from Philadelphia.